This year during ‘Plastic Free July’ I made the stark discovery that receipts are not recyclable. And to make matters worse, they are covered in nasty chemicals that are absorbed into our bodies everytime one comes into contact with our skin.
I feel like I’ve taken my zero waste backpacking mission to a whole new level as I’ve just completed my first zero waste road trip. If I had to sum up the trip in a few words, I would say ‘trial and error’. But in a good way. I definitely had ups and downs, I had to improvise for a few situations and by the end of the trip, I felt like I had made a real accomplishment as I managed to keep my waste to the bare minimum.
In a perfect world, there would be a bulk supply store on every corner and we could all easily live a zero waste lifestyle in perfect harmony. Sadly, this is not the case. But never fear, there are ways around this little problem. However, I may have to introduce the words compromise, adjust and adapt to the equation.
After spending two months in San Francisco, I felt it was time to get back to nature a bit; so what better state to do that in but Oregon. I’d read great things about a small town named Eugene and decided to make my way there. And I wasn’t disappointed.
When starting on any new journey, it’s always nice to have a bit of an idea of where you’re going. Some general guidelines even. And zero waste is no different. In fact, when it comes to zero waste, trial and error is pretty much unavoidable but having information from current zero wasters to refer to will always make your path a little less rocky.
One of my favourite things to do is paint my nails. In fact, it has become a kind of therapeutic ritual while I travel. A constant. Something that I can always do the same in an otherwise unstructured lifestyle. I didn’t even realise I was doing it at first until other travellers brought it to my attention and then it became kind of comforting.
I finally made it to my first beach cleanup! I’ve been trying to attend one for so long but other commitments always got in the way. I’m glad I got to participate in a cleanup of a city beach as it was quite eye opening. Here I was thinking there wouldn’t be too much rubbish to collect as this was a beach in a fairly clean city in a first world country. How naive and wrong I was!
Since beginning my zero waste journey, I haven’t just learned about how much waste is produced through purchasing commercial cosmetic products; I’ve also learned how many harmful chemicals are used in these everyday products; chemicals such as parabens, pthalates, fragrances and formaldehyde to name a few. One of those important products is makeup remover.
I have been aware of and supported a lot of ecological issues for a long time but haven’t actually felt like a real activist until I decided to go zero waste. I finally feel like I’m actually doing something that will have a positive impact and I really feel like I have the opportunity to inspire others to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
You would think it would be easy for me to be a minimalist since I’m a backpacker and live out of a bag but it’s actually quite remarkable how much ‘stuff’ you can accumulate and then proceed to carry around wth you. I really started practising the art of minimalism at the start of this year and it’s definintely not an overnight sensation.